5.13.2006 | The hatchback is back

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Just in time for record-high gas prices, small cars are making a comeback. Derided as ugly in the 1970s and 80s, today's hatchbacks are slim, sleek and begging for attention. The new 2007 Toyota Yaris (pictured above, in blue) gets 40 mpg highway, more than any gasoline-only car I know of. It definitely has my attention – normally I wouldn't care about gas mileage, but with gas prices so high and the road trip I'm taking this summer, I did a little research. For people who can't afford hybrids (like me when I get my first car, most likely), the Yaris is an excellent choice.

On the other hand, the Volkswagen Rabbit is making a comeback. After 22 years of being sold under the worldwide "Golf" nameplate, VW is betting that a little nostalgia, a lower starting price and a fresh redesign will make the vehicle competitive in the small car once again. It comes with loads of standard features, and it has a 5-cylinder engine (makes me wonder what the mileage will be). Still, it will be on my radar. Lots of great hatchbacks out there (or as Toyota calls their Yaris model, a "liftback") – lower starting price and great gas mileage to boot.

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Finished!

Finally, exams are over, and I'm ready to get back to real life. I'll be taking a trip this summer to Las Vegas and from there drive around Northern Arizona through to Tucson and Phoenix to visit some friends. I thought I could be really high-tech and blog from my mobile phone, but it turns out Cingular coverage is a bit spotty in Northern Arizona since GSM is still a new technology. We'll see.

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